We sat down with Tony to chat about the in's and out's of what it's like working as a Senior Technical Artist at YAGER.
What’s your job at Yager?
The work of a Technical Artist mostly focusses on performance and making sure that other people’s work gets implemented correctly. We ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible on all the platforms.
Where are you from?
I am originally from Taiwan but moved to Belgium when I was young. That’s also where I grew up.
Please describe how you got into the games industry.
I studied Law for about four years - it wasn’t my thing. In my senior year, I decided that this is not the kind of stuff that I wanted to do for a living. Instead I wanted to follow my hobbies which was building computers and playing games. I then found a curriculum in Belgium called Digital Art and Entertainment. One thing came to another and now I am here at Yager. My first job was working on an EU project, promoting game technology for use in various industries ranging from cultural to commercial sectors. I also worked a little bit in the film industry before I came to Yager.
What do you like about working in the games industry?
Its challenging. That’s what I like about the industry. There is always something that’s tickling you. If you like challenges then this is the place for you. It’s a highly competitive market out there and that forces you to always be on the edge to stay relevant out there.
What don’t you like about working in the games industry?
That’s a tough question. I wouldn’t say there’s this one thing that I really don’t like, but working with a lot of highly specialized people can be challenging. Trying to help people see each other’s point of view can be difficult. Technical Artists try to bridge communication between Engineers and Artists that both have very different perspective on things. It’s a very people focussed job and that’s sometimes very challenging.
What was the first game you ever played?
My very first game was Super Mario Bros but the one that really got me hooked was Baldur’s Gate.
What’s your most favourite game of all time?
I really enjoyed the Command and Conquer series and Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines is an all time favourite. Recently I got into Destiny 2, which is surprisingly quite enjoyable as I usually don’t like FPS games.
What are you working on right now?
Currently I am working on automated tests, these are aimed to alert developers on the current status of the project. When performance measurements are changing we can then be notified and investigate what’s going on and catch the changes that caused issues. We have tests that run every night and that show us data in the morning when we get back into the office. I am currently working on a test for the artists that will show them if anything is wrong with their maps, by running various predetermined map checks. While not a player facing feature, it is quite essential for a stable and healthy game development.
Do you have any advice for anyone that is willing to launch a career in the games industry?
Two words: Patience and conviction!
Many people imagine a career in this industry, but it’s important to realize a career does not come over night. It requires patience and a lot of work. Over time you will realize a couple of hard truths about yourself when facing certain challenges and you need to be able to have the conviction and patience to overcome these realizations in order to improve yourself. Without it, it will be a very hard industry for you to work in.
After all – ‘making games’ and ‘playing games’ are two very different things.
Thanks for your time Tony!